This experience was shared by a member of Rewired - a support group for men who have sex with men and use methamphetamine, run by the NZ Aids Foundation and NZ Drug Foundation.
The next round of Rewired starts early September. Find out more and register here.
So about a year ago I found myself in a really dark hole. To the point that I didn’t honestly think I could find a way out of it. I had just lost my job, I booked myself into a hotel, I went on a four-day bender. I wasn’t until someone rang me up and told me that I was going to leave my kids with a legacy that they didn’t deserve, that I realised that it wasn’t the way to go.
I was brought up in a very conservative religious family in a small rural community on the West Coast of the South Island. I got married really early, because that is what you did – you got married in order to have sex. I knew I was gay but I couldn’t have told you what it was.
At 47, I decided to divorce my wife. I left her and moved to Auckland from Wellington in order to be this fabulous gay person I thought I was going to be. I felt like a kid in a candy store, all of the things I thought I wouldn't be able to do when I was still married suddenly came to fruition. That's when I learnt about Chemsex. I can still remember being incredibly fascinated with the idea of constantly having sex all weekend.
I thought I could control it, I thought that it would be something that I could manage. At the beginning I was, I only did it on a few weekends. Then I met my partner, we would do it together, but it was manageable. At the same time I was in a job where, over the course of about a year, my boss was constantly telling me that my work wasn’t good enough.
This coincided with an increase in drug use because when you are high you don’t get reminded that you are not good enough. That you are not worth anything. When you are high there is no judgement. You don’t have to think about the fact that you are not paying the rent or that you are using up your rent money to pay for drugs. So that just meant I kept using more and more because that was a way to hide, it was a way to not have to worry about things or think.
My partner who had been gay all his life realised because I hadn’t done anything, he would allow me to go off with other people and experiment – having this new gay life and whatnot. If he was high he was okay with it, so instead of experimenting and doing things together it got to the point where I would just go off with other people and leave him at home because he was happy or so I thought and I was doing whatever I wanted. We became each others trigger and enabler.
It would be nice to say that after the hotel experience I was off the drugs straight away. But it hasn't quite worked out like that. I used to go on four or five day benders. These days I might just use for a night from time to time, but never for long periods.
I am beginning to see the person I become when I take meth. I know that I become awful to be around. It feels like another person comes out – someone who is unpleasant, mean and nasty. If I am honest, I become like a jealous ogre, and I can’t stop it.
I realised recently that these days drugs equals sex, and I don't know what sober sex feels like anymore. I'm beginning to figure out how to deal with stuff and how to cope. I can see things clearer now. I know I'm not going back to where I was, and when I say it out loud it sounds bizzare - why would I set myself up like that?
Those four days in the hotel were a moment of awakening. I realised that there is hope. That there are some good things in my life worth living for.
Better known as party ‘n’ play or PNP here in New Zealand, chemsex refers to combining certain drugs with sex, and is associated pretty exclusively with men who have sex with men.
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